Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Balance Anyone?

Today I took my mom to her first "Balance and Gait" class presented by our HMO's Physical Therapy department. The purpose of the class is to help seniors prevent falls by developing better balance and it is held once a week for 8 one-hour sessions. The class has 8 students all of whom qualify for Medicare and I'm guessing my mom is close to the oldest (if not the oldest) member.

Anyway, today's session consisted of an introduction to the class, a demonstration of the 3 exercises each student is expected to do on a daily basis as homework, and then a series of timed tests which are used to evaluate each student's starting physical capabilities. These tests included:
  • Standing up from a seated position, then sitting down and then repeating the action as many times as possible in a 30 second period
  • Standing up from a seated position, walking as fast as possible for 8 feet and then turning around and sitting back down as fast as possible
  • Marching for a 2 minute time period and counting the number of steps taken
  • Standing still with arms crossed against the chest, feet together and eyes closed for 30 seconds without losing balance
Well, let me tell mom's performance was surprisingly good considering her age. Yes...she does have balance problems when she walks yet she was able to complete most of these tests well within the expected results for someone her age. The only one she had any real problems with was the "standing still with eyes closed" test. She did lose her balance on that one and had to grab on to the rail next to her. Still...I tried that one myself and I can tell you that it's not as easy as it sounds. Hmmm...maybe it's a good thing I'm going to take her to each session and sit in with her.


meno said...

Maybe we can all do the exercises at home!

Renee said...

That balancing with your eyes closed is tough!

My FIL had this balancing board that he was supposed to exercise with. I don't know how well he did but DD is really good at it and I ... well I stink! LOL!

Patti said...

All those tests sound a bit rigorous. Maybe us middle-agers should start practicing so we can ace the tests when we are in our 80s..

Ralph is exempt though.

Linda said...

Yeah ... what Patti said!

Susie said...

I've seen those classes offered at our HMO (which I think is probably the same as yours) Never thought I'd need it, but perhaps when my foot is healed it could be helpful.
Have a happy 4th!

Mary said...


I think I need to come along. I may learn a thing or two. LOL My balance is not good, but is caused from inner ear problems. I get infections constantly and over the years its really affected my balance.

Your mother sounds like she is doing great. Mom is 80 years old and she does great as well. However she did fall a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to check to see if there is anything like this therapy in our region.